Burdett couple wins contest, enjoys a dream trip
BURDETT--A Burdett couple has a fish story so big even they can't believe it.
Last month Mark and Coleen Fabrizi won the 2018 Econo Lodge Easy Escape Contest. The prize was a trip to famed bass fishing Lake Guntersville in Alabama with Justin Lucas, the 2018 Angler of the Year.
To say the couple was excited would be a major understatement.
"I just kept saying to myself, I can't believe this is really going to happen," said Mark. "I have dreamed of fishing in that legendary area of the country and of fishing with a pro angler. The fact that both bucket list experiences were about to happen at once was amazing!"
Coleen had entered the contest on the spur of the moment late this summer when the couple returned from a Bassmasters Elite Tournament on the St. Lawrence River. They had served as marshalls at the tournament and had gotten online to check the results when they saw contest information.
"The contest popped up on the screen and I started typing my entry out. It never occurred to me in a million years that I would actually win," said Coleen.
But win they did and big time.
They received free airfare, a car rental, two nights at the Econo Lodge in Boaz, Alabama, meals, a full day of fishing with Lucas and an "ultimate tackle box" plus a new rod and reel.
Mark Fabrizi grew up fishing on Long Island with his father. Coleen started 10 years ago with Mark's guidance.
Said Coleen, "When he would go fishing I would be on the back deck reading my book. One day while on Cobbosseecontee Lake in Maine, he was catching one after another and I said, 'Hey Mark, can I try fishing for a bit?' I haven't taken a book on the boat since."
Her husband gladly complied and it has been a shared passion for the couple ever since. They fish the Finger Lakes as well as the lake where they vacation every summer in Maine.
The two began marshaling Elite Bass Master Tournaments about five years ago when Mark was accepted to work a competition on Cayuga Lake.
The tournament was short some marshalls and Coleen volunteered to give it a try.
"We love it. The opportunity to watch the pros fish and learn from their techniques is fantastic!," said Coleen. "The only hard part of marshaling is that you cannot fish. You are only on the boat to observe. Talk about torture."
That all changed in October thanks to the Econo Lodge contest.
There was extensive filming of the three fishing during the trip as well as an interview with the Fabrizis. Choice Brands Hotels will premier the film at their annual convention in Las Vegas. It will then be used in a variety of places, including on a yet-to-be-announced television show.
Coleen, whose maiden name is Voorheis, is a native of Burdett and serves as executive director of Corning's Gaffer District. Mark is a facilities coordinator at Cornell University.
Coleen Fabrizi's award-winning essay and photo
"It has been a very tough year. I lost my Dad in October 2017, he was also like a second father to my husband Mark. No matter how rough the moment Mark has found a way to help me smile and live joyfully just like my Dad and his Dad who we lost five years ago had wanted. Both of our fathers told us to follow our dreams and don't wait for the right time to do what you want, make it the right time and make memories, life is too short not to chase your dreams. So for our Dads and because I am still absolutely crazy about him after almost 37 years of marriage, I would bring my husband Mark.
"This bass decided to dive deep in the weeds and I was convinced I was going to lose him. My husband quickly came to the back of the boat and coached me on how to work him out of the weeds. The best part was the loud yell my husband let out when I got him."